Former Ogun State Governor, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, yesterday said the Tai Solarin University of Education (TASUED), Ijagun must not be allowed to die.
He spoke during the annual New Year thanksgiving service of the Abraham's Tabernacle, Sagamu - a church built and named after his late father, Most Rev. Abraham Adebola Daniel.
In attendance at the event were the Afenifere Leader, Chief Reuben Fasoranti, former Minister of Finance, Dr Onaolapo Soleye, former Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Alhaji Sarafa Isola, former Deputy Governor, Alhaja Salmot Badru, Executive Director, Nigeria Deposit Insurance Commission (NDIC), Mrs. Lola Abiola-Edewor, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, Sir Olanihun Ajayi, Senator Femi Okurounmu, Chief GOK Ajayi and National Coordinator, Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC), Otunba Gani Adams as well as traditional rulers, serving and former government functionaries, politicians and clergymen.
Daniel's comment came amidst the controversial move by Governor Ibikunle Amosun to scrap TASUED and merge it with a faculty under the state-owned Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU), Ago-Iwoye.
The governor had, last week, sacked the varsity's Vice Chancellor, Professor Segun Awonusi, and replaced him with Professor Oluyemisi Obilade.
The development had continued to generate tension within the university community even as 52 traditional rulers from Ijebuland and House of Assembly members reportedly vowed to resist the proposed scrapping of TASUED.
But while giving his vote of thanks at the church service, Daniel, whose administration established the nation's premier university of education, lent his voice to the raging debate over the TASUED issue.
"TASUED will not die. It is not an orphan, it has parents. TASUED must not be allowed to die," he said amidst thunderous applause from the congregation.
The former governor expressed gratitude to God for surviving all the evil machinations orchestrated by his adversaries.
"But we must keep thanking God because the people who planned whatever they planned did not think that I will be here today and by the special grace of God I am here. I have no doubt in my mind that by the special grace of God, next January, I will also be here physically," he added.
Daniel, who stressed the importance of unity for development and nation-building, urged his supporters to continue to "hold the forte" in the state.
Earlier in his sermon, the Prelate, Methodist Church of Nigeria, Dr Sunday Ola Makinde, called on Nigerians to always be thankful in all situations.
The cleric said Nigeria still remained united despite several disastrous incidents that befell the country in the outgone year.
He noted that human beings are ungrateful notwithstanding the blessings they enjoy from God.
He said, "A lot of disaster happened in 2012. Boko Haram, armed robbery, killings, flooding, road accidents, rising unemployment, fuel subsidy crisis, social disorder. We managed all these things but upon all, don't we need to thank God?
"Every second, every minute, every hour, every day, every month and every year that we are alive, we must give thanks to God because it is by His grace that we are alive. We are not better off than those that have died.
"We are thankful today; Nigeria is still one. What has happened to Nigeria is enough to destroy and divide Nigeria. What happened to Nigeria has destroyed many countries. But Nigeria is still united because of God's grace and the presence of remnant of the faithful."
Makinde also commended Daniel for using the thanksgiving service to remember his late father.
"I believe you (Daniel) are a true son of your father. You gave your father satisfaction when he was alive, you gave him a befitting burial and today, you are honouring him with a memorial service," he said.
The cleric urged people to always honour their parents while they are alive, as well as when they are dead.
The Yeye Oodua, Chief (Mrs) HID Awolowo, who was represented by Hon. Omosanya Solaja, delivered a goodwill message at the service.
Also, two persons, Pastor Idowu Hosu and Mrs. Omolayo Adekoya, won a raffle draw sponsored by Gateway Front Foundation (GFF) to travel on Holy Pilgrimage to Jerusalem in 2013.
Other dignitaries at the event included Ebuwame of Ago-Iwoye, Oba Rasaq Adenugba, Ewusi of Makun, Oba Timothy Akinsanya, Gbegande of Ososa, Oba Toye Alatishe, Ogirimadagbo of Ilodo, Oba Isiaka Ajede, Dr Rufus Ositelu, Archbishop Paul Onanuga, Prince Gboyega Isiaka, Chief Tola Adeniyi, Chief (Mrs) Iyabo Apampa, Aare Kola Oyefeso, Chief Taiwo Allimi, Chief Niyi Adegbenro, and Mr. Sina Kawonise.
Also in attendance were Hon. Dele Obadina, Hon. Kayode Amusan, Hon. Soyemi Coker, Mr. Akin Osinbajo, Hon. John Obafemi, Hon. Joseph Adegbesan, Dr Yomi Majekodunmi, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, Col. Emmanuel Shoda, Chief Kolapo Ogunjobi, Otunba Gbemi Onakoya, Chief Femi Coker, Arc. Kayode Adebayo and Hon. Kunle Salako.
Meanwhile, students of TASUED have appealed to Governor Amosun to urgently constitute the Governing Council of the university.
They also called on the governor to visit the institution campus in order for him to see the level of infrastructural development TASUED has achieved.
In a statement made available to reporters in Abeokuta, the Students’ Union Government President of TASUED, Oluwafemi Adeniyi, said the setting up of the Governing Council would ensure the smooth academic administration of the institution.
Adeniyi said, "Your Excellency should as a matter of urgency effect the proper funding and implementation of the Educational Trust Fund (ETF) meant for TASUED and which has not been implemented.
"Your Excellency should ensure the release of our own (TASUED) Mass Transit Bus as given out to OOU, MAPOLY and FEDPOLY, Ilaro."